Cast members' parents get in on the act They have built sets for Annapolis High play

curtain goes up tonight

March 01, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

As several teen-agers sing and twirl across the elaborate cruise ship set, the whine of Ted Bavis' electric saw slicing through wood cuts into their rehearsal and drowns out their voices.

But these Annapolis High School Thespians don't mind, because if it weren't for Mr. Bavis and other helpful parents sawing and hammering, they wouldn't have the set with revolving cabins for their production of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes."

Mr. Bavis and a crew of parent volunteers went to work three weeks ago to get the set ready for the opening night curtain at 7:30 today. In the last hectic days, several parents with tool belts and electric screwdrivers were still patching up portholes, building staterooms and hanging paintings on cabin walls while the cast rehearsed.

"Sometimes you can't hear us singing during rehearsal because of the work they're doing, but it's OK because the set they've built for us is amazing," said Peter Salvia, 17, a senior who plays Billy Crocker, the lead role.

"It's like sent from heaven, really," he said. "If we had to build this ourselves, it would have probably been two plywood walls with a painting of a ship's deck in the background and some props."

Mr. Bavis, 49, the owner of Eastport Development Co., said building sets has "kind of become a family thing for us."

Ever since his daughters -- 16-year-old Alice Bavis plays one of the lead female roles in this show -- caught the acting bug about four years ago, he has helped build sets for local theater companies.

He has helped create the sets for productions of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "42nd Street" and the rainy street scene for "Singing in the Rain" at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre.

"I think it's kind of neat that instead of me being interested in fishing and she being into lacrosse, we have the same interests and we can spend time together working on the same project," Mr. Bavis said of Alice.

The sets all start with an idea and a few pencil-drawn sketches, said Mr. Bavis, who was building a bunk bed for the musical's ship, the S.S. American.

"It's really not much different from building homes," he said. "You design it, you build it, you talk to people and decide what else needs to be added. I don't do it alone by any means. A lot of parents helped design and build this set."

Jack Paulsen, whose 14-year-old son, Jeff, is in the play, is one of those parents. "This set has been quite a challenge to build," said Mr. Paulsen, who has helped build sets for several productions in the past three years. "But it shows because it's a much more intricate set than you would see in most high school productions."

The students couldn't agree more.

"I don't think we could have put together that whole set without help," said Shannon Ross, 16, a junior who is the stage manager for the production. "This is the fifth show I've worked on, and it's definitely the best show I've seen so far."

"Anything Goes" can be seen in the Annapolis High School auditorium today and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5.

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